1953 - 55 Tigers
(Authentic Reproduction)



The influx of talented sophs resulted in a two-team presentation by Auburn. Both teams played offense and defense, both were filled with two-way players with neither specializing in one aspect of the game as did the future Chinese Bandits of Paul Deitzel at LSU. Jordan had "X" and "Y" teams, one led by Vince Dooley, the other by Bobby Freeman. Dooley's backfield featured Bobby Duke and soph sensation Fob James while Freeman's had crunching soph fullback Joe Childress. The teams played differently as they reflected the personalities of their QB's. With All SEC end Jim Pyburn's talent, the Tigers turned things around to 7-2-1, gained a Gator Bowl berth where they lost to Texas Tech 35-13, and Jordan was selected as SEC Coach Of The Year. The season was also highlighted by a new helmet design, a white Riddell TK shell that featured a 1/2-inch burnt orange center stripe that was flanked by 1/2-inch navy blue stripes, a look that became synonymous with Auburn football through the years. With Vince Dooley entering the Marine Corps before returning to assist Jordan with the Tiger gridders and then achieving fame as Georgia's all time greatest coach, Shug made the mistake of trying to go into '54 with an "X" and "Y" team set-up without having the two necessary QB's to do it successfully. At 1-3, he then put his best eleven on the field as often as possible and ripped through the remainder of the schedule. His great frosh class of '52 maturing, the Tigers were one of the country's best teams by the end of the season. FB Joe Childress single-handedly dismantled sixth-ranked Miami with 164 rushing yards (of the 836 he garnered for the season) in a 14-13 upset and went on to All SEC honors. End Jim Pyburn was named All American and then left to play baseball with the Baltimore Orioles. The team received another Gator Bowl bid and crushed Baylor 33-13 as Childress and Bobby Freeman, SEC Back Of The Year, ran the field. Graduation losses were steep entering 1955 but FB Childress returned for an All American finale before enjoying a ten-year career as the Cardinals first round draft choice, running behind huge 233-pound Frank D'Agostino. The emergence of Jim "Red" Phillips as an effective two-way end, and the brilliant outside running by HB Fob James (future Governor of Alabama) led the four aforementioned players to be named to the All SEC team as the Tigers surprised with a powerful 8-1-1 finish. Once again the reward was a trip to the Gator Bowl where a strong Vanderbilt team whipped Auburn 25-13 but Jordan was quietly building a dynasty where only devastation had reigned. Unfortunately, recruiting irregularities brought the wrath of the NCAA and the Tigers were  smacked with probation. It was then discovered that highly sought back Don Fuell had received an air conditioner from an overzealous booster and a second penalty would now keep the Tigers out of any bowl games from 1956 through the 1960 season. Fuell later went on to become one of Southern Mississippi's great players from 1959-61.

If interested in any of these Auburn helmets please click on the photos below.